Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Cairo

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Senate on Tuesday faulted claims by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that its members received N20 million each as COVID-19 palliatives from the commission.

NDDC’s Executive Director (Projects), Cairo Ojuogboh, had in an interview in one of the dailies accused National Assembly members of being beneficiaries of the controversial COVID-19 palliative.

According to him, each senator got N20 million each while each House of Representatives members received N15 million each.

But Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Ajibola Basiru, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, denied the allegation made by the Executive Director that members of both chambers of the National Assembly received the sum of N20m and N15m each as COVID-19 palliative from the Commission.

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The lawmakers challenged Ojuogboh to provide the names of members who were beneficiaries of the said palliative, or immediately retract his statement alongside tendering an apology to the National Assembly in the absence of evidence to backup his claims.

“The Senate views with grave concern a statement credited to Dr Cairo Ojougboh, the Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC who alleged that National Assembly members received varying sums of money as COVID-19 palliative. The Senate hereby disclaims the allegation in its entirety.

“The Senate categorically denies that any Senator collected the sum of N20 million or any sum whatsoever from NDDC as Covid relief fund of for any purpose whatsoever,” it said.

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The statement added that the hallowed chamber challenged DOjougboh to publicly provide evidence of his claim and list the names of the Senators he allegedly gave the alleged sum.

“Failure to provide evidence of his claim, the Senate hereby demands immediate retraction and public apology from Dr Cairo Ojougboh,” the statement said.

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